It is almost impossible today to imagine our life without computers. And if you work in a prestigious company that means that you must be an active computer user. However many of those who spend most of the working day in front of their work PC don’t realize that their tools can lead to their dismissal.
Computers also offer temptations of their own that can get you into serious trouble – a bit like those solid fudge bars on the office trolley that tempt you every morning. But you are more likely to be able to hide those extra kilos than porn site addresses in your history file.
It’s simple. Your work computer exists for work, and that’s that. Using this machine for personal pleasure can land you in serious trouble with the powers that be. In fact, it could cost you your job more quickly than you can say "CD-ROM."
Here’s how to avoid the most important piece of hardware in your life turning on you.
1. Download if you dare
Just because you recently had ADSL installed at home, and you’ve been downloading movies and music in demon-like fashion all night long, doesn’t mean you can do the same thing at work.
Most companies will have some sort of data transfer manager, and this person will alert the bosses to any large transfers happening on the server.
That means while you might be getting the latest episodes of South Park during your lunch hour, you could be packing your bags and heading home before the traffic even picks up.
Remember that anything you get off the internet is downloaded. This includes MP3s, streaming videos, music or radio, and even pictures.
Downloading pornography is a definite one-way ticket to a new job. Just because no one is around, doesn’t mean the server isn’t watching.
2. Email abuse
Email traffic is also very often monitored, and a high exchange of personal email in your inbox could land you in hot water.
At work, your inbox has been set up for you to receive and send email that is work- related only – not to send your colleague a dirty slideshow, or a joke chain mail you just received from your friend in London .
Remember too, that some companies may enforce the right to read employee email. Therefore, writing anything nasty about your boss or fellow colleagues could backfire horribly, and result in some unwanted disciplinary action.
3. Keeping it hush-hush
Confidential documents that make their way to your inbox are your responsibility. Try keeping these documents in a separate folder, and don’t keep them in your inbox if you don’t need them anymore.
Accidentally sending confidential documents to your Auntie in Brakpan won’t bode well with the boss.
If you are goingtosave important documents and information, rather put it onto disk, and make sure that you always keep the disk in a safe place.
4. Time is money
You may tell everyone that all the money you have is hard-earned, but do you really work at work, or do you play?
If you spend your time playing solitaire or poker, or surfing the web to find your next set of wheels, you are wasting your companies’ time and money This could be another reason for dismissal.
Be careful how much time you waste on personal content like emails. You could end up giving your boss a bad impression of your work ethic. This will not get you any closer to that promotion you so desperately need.
5. Protect your personals
Though you may work in front of ‘personal computer’ everyday, it still belongs to the company and not you, so keep your personal stuff off its drives.
If you have to save personal files on your work computer, make sure to save them deep in Windows, so that potential saboteurs will struggle to find them in the unlikely event of them acquiring unauthorised access to your computer.
Make sure that any personal information you save on your work computer is of a ‘safe’ nature, and features no reference to how much you might hate your boss, or your plans to topple management by the end of the year.
6. The science of ethics
If you could easily get away with plagiarising entire essays at university and get the marks for it, don’t think that the same applies at work.
Plagiarism is a big issue in the working world. Copying information from the internet without permission could result in your company having to fork out vast sums of money in legal fees and costs, not to mention having to remove you quietly from the payroll.
Before using images or quotes, make sure you are up to speed with the copyright status of that material, and do not under any circumstances use the stuff if it is!
7. Chat your job away
So you spent the whole night chatting to Nuwanda on the net, and you’ve decided she’s your soulmate. You then spend your whole day chatting to your virtual bronzed beauty, forgetting entirely about the annual report you’re supposed to hand in before five o’ clock.
Although online communications have become a part of our modern world, spending hours online chatting during work could land you in some serious trouble. Sitting on chat sites all day is no different than going for coffee with a mate and coming back three hours later.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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